Published May 6, 2005
After about three weeks struggling with a cover to match Haukur Már Helgason’s feature, we finally had it. A cover that got to the heart of the matter. And then Paul, our only staff writer, pointed out the obvious.
“Tell me again why we’re attacking our target audience?”
We all laughed and then went quiet. The silence was broken, honest to God, by the new mail alert from my computer: Haukur Már was emailing to ask if he had indeed gone too far.
Not only are we at the Grapevine dependent on the tourist industry at-large for this issue; we have received a four-page advertisement from the Arts Festival… I can understand why just about anyone would question running a cover criticising the artistic community.
But I have an ace in the sleeve: the artists themselves understand why we’re running this. Our cover bo y, Siggi, keyboardist for Hjalmar and soundman at Grand Rokk, was extremely enthusiastic to help out. As Haukur Már’s piece indicates, a range of artists were ready to go on record. It’s this simple: the local artists are worried about where they’re headed. And many of them are wondering who pointed them in this direction.
We print the criticism of the art scene in this paper because we believe that beneath the hype and stereotypes there is an enormous amount of promise here. If we are a member of the tourist industry, then we are just doing our best to make sure that tourists can have a quality experience.
Regarding the true dangers that Iceland may be facing, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley come to mind. Think of George Michael as a metaphor for members of the artistic community who have gained fame on their own merit while refusing to shed their slightly hokey nationalism. Think of Andrew Ridgeley as the less talented artists and businessmen who have embraced this nationalism and for whom this is their only notable quality.
With this conceit, think of 2005 as Iceland’s 1986: we’re telling all the George Michaels out there to move away from the black light and make something of themselves. And we’re warning all the Andrew Ridgeleys that when you make yourself look really silly, sometimes the people who buy your garbage feel silly with you, and they stop trusting you. And they mock you. Relentlessly. And you have to sell your house and pedigree dogs and golden roller skates.
Think about it.